Neil Warnock: I'm delighted the new Leeds owners are looking to the future with me
What I Learnt This Week
It has been a long time coming but our takeover has finally been completed and Leeds United have new owners. I think it is a giant step forward. While Ken Bates has turned the club around in the last eight years and done a lot behind the scenes, I think he has done the right thing in passing on control to GFH Capital; in modern football you have to invest to be successful and the new owners have promised to do just that.
I've been speaking to the new owners for a number of weeks and they have been nothing but supportive both towards me and in their wishes for the club. I was taking training when they were unveiled at yesterday's press conference but I gather they said one of the conditions of the deal was that I stayed on and I was one of the reasons they have bought Leeds. That is obviously nice to hear but it is the third club in succession I've been at when there has been a takeover. The others didn't work out that well for me so no disrespect to them, but I'm simply going to concentrate on the job and whatever will be, will be.
What is encouraging is that the new owners have already been influential. On deadline day they helped with the Jerome Thomas deal, which has helped us gain some momentum in the league. I have been speaking to them about what we can do in the January transfer window and, while our conversations have to remain private, I am optimistic we can add the players we need to continue climbing the table. We won't be buying half a dozen because it is impossible to integrate that many into a team mid-season, but I'll be looking to add a bit of quality to give ourselves a fighting chance.
The new owners were there on Wednesday for the Chelsea game and I am sure they drank in what was an amazing atmosphere and thought, "We'd like more of this". I'd never heard anything like the roar when we went one-up. It really made me think those European nights in Leeds' heyday must have been special.
It was a great cup tie even when things went wrong for us in the second half and, while we were well beaten in the end, the night showed the potential. Yes, we are a long way from being a Chelsea – I knew the game was up when Eden Hazard and Ashley Cole came on as substitutes – but you have to get the foundations right to make progress and we have those in place.
Everybody was wondering whether I would shake hands with Rafa, but the person with reason to feel most aggrieved at him is Sharon, not me. If he had not contributed to my leaving Sheffield United when I did I would probably be well and truly retired by now and we'd all be having Christmas in Cornwall.
2. Rafa's out to win cup
As soon as I saw Chelsea's team sheet I knew we'd be up against it; as I'd expected, Rafa was out to win the competition. Nevertheless, we took the lead and had a great chance to go two-up just before half-time. A minute after the break they equalised and the game changed, with my old player Victor Moses having a big influence. Thanks, Victor.
It was nice to have a chat with him afterwards, though. I think some of the values I told him he needed to adopt if he was to make a living in the game he now has in his locker. He works as hard as I have ever seen him do and he is getting his rewards, which is fantastic.
We've a Yorkshire derby today against the best team in the county at the moment, Middlesbrough. I'm sure Tony Mowbray was rubbing his hands to see us playing on Wednesday night while his lads rested. But it is amazing what you can do. I think the takeover has had an effect and I'm hoping the buzz that's engendered will help the lads get their energy back.
It's not just been a tough week for us, what with three home games in a week, it's been an expensive one for fans, especially at this time of year, what with Christmas presents and everything else. It is bound to put a strain on wallets, but at least for our travelling fans the two trips away at Christmas are both reasonably local – Nottingham Forest and Hull City.
Talking of Christmas, I'm pleased to report the players' party went off without incident. They went to London to blend in with the crowds! I did insist on a member of security accompanying them and nothing untoward occurred.
3. Arsenal have it tough
You've got to feel sorry for Arsenal with the Champions League draw they have got. Bayern Munich are flying. I bet Arsène wishes he'd won the group, but I suppose Manchester United did and they got Real Madrid, so there are no guarantees. I hope they get through and Celtic too, but it is going to be difficult for all three clubs.
I'm glad Arsène has managed to sign up most of his English youngsters and if he wants to sign Theo Walcott I'm sure he will. Calling for his head seems to be an annual event but I'm sure he'll turn it around again, finish top four and confound his critics once more.
4. Harry can pull it off
It was great to see Harry get his first win at QPR against Fulham last week. I'm probably one of the few that thinks he can now get them to safety – there are so many clubs being drawn into the scrap I think he is more than capable of doing it. You could see the whole club was bubbling last weekend with those points and once the fans get going Loftus Road can become a fortress. Watching Adel Taarabt's two goals made me smile, having brought him to QPR myself from Harry at Spurs. Harry will be aware that Adel has improved no end over the last couple of years in his contribution; he is so much more mature.
5. Sharon sees the light
Sharon, like most women, wants to oversee the Christmas decorations and she told me to wait until she got here before doing anything. But every now and again it is nice to prove we men are capable of doing things so I got the tree last weekend, when Natalie was here, and decorated it all with lights, baubles and everything. It looked great, even if it is a bit too tall for my cottage, which means the top of the tree is bent against the low ceiling, making the angel slightly hunched over. I also bought a load of lights and asked the electrician from the club to come and help me set them up outside and around the porch. I had one of the neighbours switch them on as we drove home from last Saturday's game and Sharon had to admit it looked fantastic as we drove up, and the tree was lovely. Some things don't change, though: I've left the present buying until Christmas Eve again.
6. Merry Christmas all
I was delighted to see a generous reader has bid £2,166.99 in The Independent's Christmas auction for the pleasure of joining me at training at Leeds United and for lunch. Unicef's a great cause and it is great to be able to help out. I look forward to welcoming the successful bidder to our lovely training ground in the new year.
Finally, I'd like to wish a very Merry Christmas to all my readers; I hope Santa brings you what you want and you are all happy and healthy over the holiday period.
Snow joke on family day out
To celebrate grandson Charlie's second birthday, we went on a special Santa Claus steam train last weekend from Haworth. It was a cracking day for the kids. When Santa came round with the presents Amy, who's at an age when children normally pretend to be older, told him she was only 12 so she got a present. I think Santa was being kind.
Boarding the steam train did feel nostalgic. Young kids must think, "What on earth is it?" But when I was a kid we'd go to Sutton-on-Trent and sit on the railway crossing by the signalbox and watch the trains go by. The driver would blow his whistle and when the Royal Scotsman came past it was like seeing royalty. Trainspotting used to be a good hobby for kids, but you don't see many doing it now.
Haworth's a lovely old village with cobbled streets. There was a Salvation Army band playing and a sweet shop at the top of the road which had a snow machine that went off every 20 minutes. Me and William rushed out to be snowed on every time it went off.
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